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Libya: Gaddafi denies fleeing to Niger

Ousted Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi has slammed reports he had fled to neighbouring Niger as "psychological warfare and lies" in an audio message aired by the Damascus-based Arrai television channel.

"They have nothing else to resort to apart from psychological warfare and lies. They last said Gaddafi had been seen in a convoy heading towards Niger," he said in the first message from the fugitive deposed Libyan strongman in several days.

"How many times do convoys transporting smugglers, traders and people cross the border every day for Sudan, Chad, Mali and Algeria," he said. "As if this was the first time a convoy was headed towards Niger."

"They want to weaken our morale," he said, addressing his countrymen. "Do not waste time on this weak and ignoble enemy."

Gaddafi also said Nato "will be defeated" as its "logistical capacities will not allow it" to press on with its military intervention.

"We are ready in Tripoli and everywhere to intensify attacks against the rats, the mercenaries, who are a pack of dogs," he said.

Since his Tripoli complex was overrun on August 23, Gaddafi has made several appeals for resistance in tapes aired by Arrai, run by Damascus-based Iraqi Sunni former MP Mishan al-Juburi.

Juburi has been the only person who has been able to contact Gaddafi since he went into hiding after forces of the National Transitional Council (NTC) took the capital Tripoli.

"When I need to talk to him, I send him a message, or he contacts me when he wants to pass a message," Mr Juburi told AFP by telephone.